East London's ever changing landscape around Shoreditch and E1 area has turned into a 'living creative hub'. A community full of trendy cafes, contemporary shops, boutiques, centre of street art and where brands are trying to catch in to catch the trendsetters at first-grasp with guerrilla marketing.
Whilst still embracing the old, Victorian style-housing with contemporary street art, old buildings of history are rewritten and decorated with a new wave of creativity. Brands such as Dior, Burberry, Schweppes, Apple and many more are utilising this tool to connect with local communities through this media form.
Boxpark Shoreditch, originally founded by Roger Wade, a retail, event and dining rental, space has become eponymous with the area, driving in young customers to experiment brands and products. Huge brands will arrange a one-day sampling pop-up event or similar to drive brand awareness. Recently, we have seen River Island with Klarna organising a peach photobooth set up with a summer themed swing and a truck serving peach flavoured drinks.
Street food and experimental fusion cuisine spots from the world are located from Brick Lane, surrounding areas and many Boxpark paint a versatile scene for food. Beigel Bake is a fine example of the vibrance alongside with South Asian heritage restaurants which have been founded back from mid 60s when many foreigners emigrated from former colonies as an effort to build post-war Britain. From 1978 Sammy and Asher Cohen decided to operate a bagel factory, moving two doors down in brick lane to keep a shop and a bagel factory all under the same roof. A pastry, which was originally developed by Jewish communities in Eastern Europe is now available at your fingertips in Brick Lane.
Beigel bake is one of the legendary spots to enjoy bagels in town.
Places such as this, which are 24/7 open for a reason are increasingly busy throughout late evenings and early morning hours, as Shoreditch is home to a number of cult nightlife venues. This part of London never sleeps. Young and trendy Londoners can sip on their artisan coffees during day, and party in grungy 'underground' clubs during night. With a range of highly recognised DJ's that have a cult following and fans who follow them to places such as Cargo at Rivington. The laid-back street art, rustic feel of brick houses and the day-to-night function of venues has made places such as this one of London's most sought nightlife venues. Nearly every Londoner will have one story to tell about going to Cargo. As many nightclubs have an average life-span of 4 years, Cargo has been welcoming customers since 2000. It has become an iconic landmark for East London nightlife.
Further down towards Thames River you can see a piece of history, the area of E1 London stretches all the way down from Shoreditch and it's immersive street art to Thames River. Prospect of Whitby pub is a standing which has been present in London's changing scene for centuries. Originally built in 1520, is the oldest riverside tavern, with names changing from The Pelican and Devil's Tavern. The pub features 400-year old stone floor, eighteenth century panelling and nineteenth century facade. Visited by the likes of Princess Margaret and Prince Rainier III.
Repurposing what there is on-location is the key of embracing this area. Grind, the cult coffee shop chain now enjoyed by many Londoners, is one of those examples. David Abrahamovitch, who’s Jewish parents originally emigrated from Eastern Europe, inherited a mobile phone shop from his father when he died. Together with his friend, Kaz James who also works as a world-class DJ and Promoter.
Inside Grind, the former mobile shop in Old Street.
Alongside with breakthrough businesses with captivating stories, street art has become a trademark of Shoreditch. Graffiti keeps rapidly changing every few days, with artists such as David Speed, Alex Arnell, FatCap Sprays and Ben Eine and of course Banksy to name a few, have left their ‘handstamps’ all around town. Many businesses have also collaborated with street artists and brought their visions to life in their venues and shops.
Graffiti Van just off Brick Lane
Just like other big cities, this area of London has tackled gentrification aggressively, with protests occasionally covered in the news. 'Native' locals from social housing have tried to keep a strong foot down to the evolving demography of London and rising housing/retail prices. The buildings behind the new venues and the busy high street are still social housing, built around mid 1800s. Some the businesses named above have managed to keep their loyal customers and drive new ones with word of ear, first by the native locals who create a sense of community.
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That’s what makes this area so unique in comparison to the rest of London. It’s the coolest place to hang out in town and be seen. You will see so many young people in their late teens and 20s hanging around in the street of Shoreditch. They feed on that energy.
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